Reply To: Final Thoughts on LBA1 – Spoilers all

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I finished LBA1 over the weekend. I’d agree with more or less everything already said, probably liking it a little less overall. I had fun at times but it could be a bit of a slog to play through even using a guide. The backtracking was a bit much – it took way too long to travel between some locations. Trying to figure this out by trial and error must have taken forever.

Some of the tasks required way too many attempts, like getting around one of the bulldozers on the construction site or the rolling log in the Temple of Bu. A lot of this comes down to luck as far as I can tell. I found aiming and steering quite tricky in general as I never knew quite how much one press of the key would turn Twinsen. I had to go back and forth to line shots up. If I’m honest, the combat was horrible in general. If I tried to avoid it, I’d run away from an enemy to get past them, often get shot in the back and this would pull me back towards them thanks to the dodgy recoil implentation. Or I’d get shot and pushed back into a wall, then as soon as I try to run away from the wall there was a bug where the game thinks I’m running into it so I keep hitting it. These little glitches really needed ironing out. The PC I was using was a little slower than ideal which won’t have helped.

The save system isn’t entirely awful – I like that you get a clover for free if you die and it doesn’t reset a lot of the things you’ve done. The game is trying to be fair at least and I was able to forget about saving as intended. It only really bugged me on the trickiest parts where I was repeating things over and over.

On the plus side, the size and scope of the world is impressive. There was no lack of ambition here for a game of the era. The story could be better told but it certainly has scale – it wouldn’t be out of place in a JRPG. The characters are fun and the world feels quite alive for what it is.

My problems with LBA aren’t to do with the games age – I didn’t especially love it at the time either. There is a lot to like but it needed some refinement if you ask me, another few months of development to tighten everything up. It isn’t rewarding enough for the time you’d need to put into it. It certainly tried to do something different which is always to be applauded. Their earlier Alone In The Dark stands up better for me overall but I played that one when I was a good bit younger and struggled to the end without a walkthrough so I know it inside out which may be a key factor in loving these games.